In recent years, a number of certification testing programs have extended item writing efforts to include innovative, objective item formats alternative to the multiple-choice question (MCQ). Several of these item types, including multiple correct response (MCR), short answer/calculation, hotspot, and drag-and-drop (matching or ordering), have been available for several years and are starting to see wider use. However, the lack of fundamental research establishing the value of these item types led us to conduct this investigation in the hope of advancing a delineation of best practice. This 2011 white paper, authored by Timothy Muckle, PhD, will explore a number of facets of the foray into the development of innovative item formats by one credentialing organization (National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists, or NBCRNA).
In addition to summarizing the implementation of alternative item types, the paper will discuss overall benefits of the project, with a particular focus on value added to the credential, as well as lessons learned and recommendations for decision-making for other organizations.
Meet the Author
Dr. Timothy Muckle is currently employed as the Director of Testing Services at the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists. While employed there, he has been responsible for managing test development and psychometric quality of the National Certification Examination, the development of innovative item types, and spearheading an exam-related research agenda. He has also served as a psychometrician on the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) Commission since 2010. He received his B.S. degree in Mathematics from the University of Notre Dame, and received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology (Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment) from the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research interests include computerized adaptive testing (CAT), alternative item types, and performance-based assessments using simulation. Dr. Muckle resides in Michigan with his wife and four children.
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